Police: Tallahassee woman arrested for burglary after impersonating trash collector

Posted at 10:13 AM, Aug 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-21 14:39:37-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - A Tallahassee woman has been charged with prowling and burglary after surveillance video caught her going into the rooms of local nursing home residents while disguised as a trash collector. 

Tateyana Lafay Smith, 25, faces two counts of loitering or prowling and seven counts of the unarmed burglary of an occupied dwelling.

On July 31, 2018, and Aug. 3, 2018, Smith entered the rooms of people at the Allegro Assisted Living Community, according to a probable cause document.

"It is clear Smith's intentions were not to take garbage out of the resident's room, complete community service hours, or simply being nice," a Tallahassee Police Department investigator wrote. "Smith's intentions were to enter resident's rooms without permission and steal jewelry and money."

Allegro captured her on video checking every door on the first and second floors and entering unlocked rooms in July, the court document said.

In July, a staff person changing the bedding in a room saw Smith, who was wearing medical scrubs, and heard her ask a resident if she had any trash.

An Allegro service man also told the TPD investigator he saw Smith enter the building on July 31, about 8 a.m. and saw her again about two hours later on the second floor.

On Aug. 3, video surveillance footage shows Smith entering Allegro at 11:47 a.m. while dressed in medical scrubs.

The investigator said video footage does not show Smith entering any rooms in August but many areas of the complex do not have surveillance cameras installed. The document said there were no reports of any property thefts.

When Smith left, she had no items in her hands, the document said, but it was unknown if she had anything in her pockets.

During Smith's August visit, a resident called the front desk and said a strange black female came into his room, took his garbage can out into the hallway for a moment, and returned the full garbage can to his room.

When an Allegro staffer confronted Smith, Smith said she was there to see a client and gave the name of a person that did not live at the facility. Smith started to walk in the front office and suddenly walked out the front doors.

The staffer, who had already called the police, followed Smith outside.

Smith walked across the street to Four Oaks Plaza, the court document said, and entered a car that was then driven away by a man.

On Aug. 6, a TPD investigator phoned Smith, who denied ever being at Allegro.

When the investigator told Smith that she was captured on surveillance video and identified by witnesses, Smith said she needed to make a phone call and would call him back. She did not, the investigator wrote.

An Allegro resident reported money missing, the court document said, but there is no proof Smith entered that person's room.

Based on the evidence, Smith was charged and arrested. She was later released from jail on a $3,000 bond.